Log of the Rantum Scoot

Saturday, December 1st, 2002    Riviera Beach FL  

Well we finally leave Ft. Pierce for points south.  We looked around for a spot to anchor near the Blue Heron Bridge because there's a nice little spot to shore dive.  We couldn't find a good spot so we went down to the south end of Peanut Island.  We ended up getting a mooring from Capt Pete on Au Barg.  It's a cool party barge that he built. He does charters on it and it looks like fun.  Pete was great he gave us rides here and there and had tons of local knowledge.  He was one of the interesting people you meet along the way.

We had decided to add solar panels after talking to all kinds of people and internet searching.  We were looking at wind and solar and it looked like solar was the first step wind coming later.  We installed 2 Kyocera 120's.  120 watts a piece.  Melissa and I installed them on top of the bimini ourselves.  It was of course a bigger job than we first thought but we're happy with the outcome.  We;ll report later on how much juice they really make.  so far we've seen about 12 amps per our when the sun is high and about 2 when there is only daylight which I thought was pretty good.

Sunday we spend relaxing and cleaning up the boat we still had some organizing to do after a major re-provision in Ft. Pierce.  

We're now in the Market for a dinghy as we sold the 10 ft Mercury and the engine.  We had decided on an AB or a Caribe and a 15 HP engine.  It was time for a rigid inflatable we've found that the air floor and boat size wasn't enough for us.  We were ready for a drier, smoother ride.  We ended up with the Caribe L11 from Inflatables International we put on a 15 HP Yamaha two-stroke engine.  We would like a four-stroke but the additional weight makes it impossible to put on the rail in an easy way. The guy we ended up buying it from agreed to bring it to a park right near us when it was ready so that sealed the deal.

We told them we wanted it Monday morning and we were running around in it by Tuesday afternoon.  We're much happier with it than the old dinghy.  It goes fast and is much drier and handles much better.

With that done we were ready to go to the Bahamas!  We had been talking with boats in the local area via VHF discussing weather windows and forecasts.  We were even talking to our friend Michael from Madeline who we had met in Washington DC at the Capital Yacht Club.  It's amazing how many times we end up in the same place with people we met before.  All without planning!

Wednesday, December 4th, 2002    Gulf Stream crossing  

Wednesday afternoon we moved over to the fuel dock at Sailfish Marina Palm Beach.  We fueled up and topped off the water tanks for our Gulf Stream crossing.  We now carry 90 gallons of diesel and 11 gallons of gas.  We shipped out and cleared the Lake Worth inlet at about 1730.  Our plan was to go south until about 0400 (that's right AM) and if the ride was satisfactory turn east for Bimini.  We slogged along south and turned east at approximately Miami Beach at 0400.  It was a sloppy ride for the whole night but it was tolerable.  It didn't look like this weather window was large and another didn't look likely until well after the next week.  So we rode it out.  The sun rose and showed off the gorgeous blue water of the gulf stream!  We were motor-sailing to weather all night and by 1100 we were about 10 miles north of the rhumbline. We had no choice but to bear off all night as we needed the sails working to stabilize the ride. As we went further east and the current eased we were able to come back south again.  At one point we had as much as 40 degrees of correction in for the current. 

Thursday, December 5th, 2002    Bimini Bahamas!!!!  

We arrived Alicetown Bimini at 1430 on Thursday.  After negotiating the harbor entrance flying our "yellow Quarantine flag" we arranged for a slip at Seacrest Marina Michael the dockmaster provided the customs paperwork and we filled it out (that's a pain) and Scott walked down the road to the customs office and cleared the Rantum Scoot and her crew in to the Bahamas.  One more stop at immigration and our governmental commitments were complete.  Other than the amount of paper it was painless.  The officials were businesslike but not unfriendly.  we were only granted a 30 day immigration permit and were told this is now the standard.  We were told it could be extended at any immigration office for a longer period....  We'll see..... We went to bed early that night as all were tired form the passage.

Friday, December 6th, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

Ahhhh day one in the islands!!!!!  We did some snorkeling, speared a flounder and threw it on the grill for lunch!  The weather is awesome and the water clear! Went over to the "airport" to check on the flights to Ft. Lauderdale.  Chalks Ocean Airways runs 2 flights a day to Lauderdale in a Grumman Mallard T-73 seaplane

Saturday, December 7th, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

Scott left Saturday morning to go to work the Chalks folks were great and he got to Ft. Lauderdale without a hitch.  

For the next few days the wind really picked up as a cold front approached. 25-35 kt. winds were observed for hours at a time.  The crew hunkered down and got some school work done.  They also had been invited to a local school so they went over there and hung out on Monday 12-9-02.  The school was preparing for it's annual Christmas play.  The kids enjoyed having some other kids to play with.  

Later this week the generator developed problems with the raw water cooling (good thing we have solar panels :)` ). So Melissa and Pete set out to troubleshoot. They disassembled the water pump and found trouble with the impeller. They replaced the Impeller in the water pump, but that didn't fix it.  

About this time Melissa's mother swooped in on Chalks.  They decided to move back to the dock at Seacrest Marina.   The kids were excited to have Grammy back and Melissa had an adult to talk to.

Then a friendly boater on the dock offered to help with the generator.  He came over and looked as they took the pump apart again and found the new impeller also destroyed.  He asked if they had greased it before reassembling it... They hadn't...   So the other spare impeller was installed and there were high hopes but alas no water was pumped.  Satellite phone discussions that night were about further trouble shooting techniques.  Next day they took the hose off of the outlet side of the pump and voila it pumped.  We don't understand why but after putting it back together it pumped water through the engine and all seems well.

Also this week Michael from Seacrest gave Melissa a big grouper filet, it was huge.  They cooked it up that night and made chowder the next night with it.  It was delicious.  The crew has found the people of Bimini very welcoming and warm  (especially after you get to know them a little).  

The crew also returned to school to see the Christmas play.

Scott returned to the Island on Saturday the 21st.  He flew the Orlando trip for someone else and then rented a car with 2 other DHL guys who live on the east coast of Florida.  Upon arriving in Ft. Lauderdale it looked pretty hopeless for getting on the flight.  The lady said "come back tomorrow mon."  But a nice lady from Bimini encouraged him to stay and see.  At the last minute a seat became available and it was off to Bimini.  

He found the crew quite easily at the terminal sporting much improved tans and big smiles.  Bimini has been good to them! Carrying a lot of extra baggage due to Christmas deliveries and spare boat parts the gang ambled back to the Rantum Scoot.

Sunday, December 22nd, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

After a good nights sleep Scott was ready to jump back into island life.  He, Melissa and Will got out the gear, loaded up the dinghy and set off for a shallow dive armed with local knowledge regarding the location of a small reef.  We dingyed around for way to long and finally found a spot.  We tried to gear up and get into the water, but between the current, the wind and the boat bobbing up and down we had our hands full!  This first dive off of the dinghy was not going really well.  Will and Scott descended only to find that we had drifted off of the reef and down into an endless white sand desert. After about 10 minutes of that we all bailed out put the gear back into the dinghy and started back somewhat demoralized and a bit frustrated.  On the way back we decided to check out one more spot.  It was shallow but had a good number of fish and some small lobster. Scott bagged a small lobster and we headed back as the sun set.  Pete chastised us for being late, explaining that he was worried.  We had to agree! We should have been back sooner.

Monday, December 23nd, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

The next day we went over and bought a list of GPS coordinates of 18 different dive sites around Bimini compiled by Bill & Nowdla from Bimini Undersea.  It was well worth the $25.00 as it provided the EXACT location of the attraction.  We set out armed with a handheld GPS, a VHF radio (to be able to talk to the big boat) and a refined game-plan for diving from the dinghy. This time we ended up right over the reef we wanted and Melissa and Scott jumped in, geared up and then Will got in.  This was far superior to the day before.  We all went down together and found this reef to be really great.  We saw a lot more fish, bigger lobster and some cool coral.  Will had left his camera behind because of the previous fiasco he felt he wanted to concentrate on his diving and not have to worry about the camera.  We were all bummed about that later, but knew it was the right thing to do.  This time went infinitely smoother from finding the spot to getting in the water and communicating with the big boat.  We are learning!

When we got back we found that Michael from Seacrest Marina had dropped off about 3 lbs. of Wahoo filets that the "boss" caught that day.  We cooked some that night along with some lobster we had caught and had a real feast!  The Wahoo was awesome and so was the lobster!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

Christmas Eve!  

We spent a good amount of time at the beach swimming and body surfing.  Melissa's father Ken arrived this afternoon via charter plane from Nassau.  We walked around town for a while looking for conch fritters but most places were closing by the time we got going.  We did stop at the Compleat Angler for a Goombay Smash.  The Compleat Angler was the local hang out for Ernest Hemingway when he spent time in Bimini. 

Tonight we grilled the rest of the Wahoo for dinner very delicious. Tonight Melissa, Will and Emily went to the local Baptist church for Christmas Eve services with the Islanders.

Wednesday, December 25nd, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

Christmas day
The kids awoke bright and early and of course were anxious to start opening presents of which there were quite a few. Some things were local such as clothing but most everything was brought from the states personally by a DHL pilot (Scott) or by boat (ours).

Emily and Scott went snorkeling nearby so that Emily could try out her new fins.  She got the type that are open heeled that require a boot.  She was anxious to try them out! 

For dinner we had acquired a 10.5 lb. turkey locally.  We had stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potato, cranberry sauce, a cornbread/cream corn mixture and gravy. We cooked most of the stuff on Rantum Scoot and then brought it over to Ed & Linda's boat "Freedom" to eat.  Ed & Linda are cruising on their 42 ft. Grand Banks.  We had a nice time and there was some card playing afterwards.  Scott and Ken opted to enjoy the view from the flying bridge above.

Our pictures of Bimini

Tuesday, December 31st, 2002 Alicetown, Bimini Bahamas 

New Years Eve in Bimini! Early to bed to welcome the new year.

Here's a page with some history of Bimini

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